We put in at the Anstruther Lake Access Point. It was very windy when we got there, and as you might have guessed the wind was blowing directly in our faces, which made fro a bit of a tricky launch. Once we were on the water things were great. The kids all did an amazing job of paddling in such a strong wind. They really dug in when we needed them to. I'm so impressed with their growth as paddlers over the years (Our six year old paddles like a veteran paddler). Since we were battling a strong head wind there was no time for pictures.
As we neared the first portage of the day, into Rathbun Lake, we spotted a bald eagle flying overhead. I find these birds absolutely majestic and am happy to see that they are making a come back. We got to the portage, unloaded and sorted out who was taking what on the portage. We blasted through the portage then when back to check out the waterfall. I love that our kids are so excited to see and explore waterfalls.
|Climbing the Waterfall|
|Posing(?) at the Waterfall|
|More Waterfall Climbing|
The trip across Rathbun was quick and uneventful but the portage into Copper Lake was a little busy when we got there. Sarah was able to land her boat and get going on the portage. Shortly after she left a couple were putting their boat into the water, followed by a trio in a different canoe. Our older daughter and I waited on the water until the portage was clear. This portage also had a beautiful waterfall. We didn't stop, we just admired it in passing since it was getting late and we were getting tired. The portages for the day were short, but they were both steep uphills. From Anstruther Lake to Copper the elevation gain is about 45 m, over about 600 m. The Highlands part of the park name isn't just a cute name to invoke visions of beauty. They're called Highlands for good reason.
Once on Copper Lake we paddled to our site (235).
|It's Amazing How Much Cooking the Kids Want to do When Fire is Involved|
|The Wind Finally Died Down|
Our goal for the second day was to get to Serpentine Lake. We had booked the island site (221) and were looking forward to a couple of days there. Our older daughter was convinced that we should take the short route via the 200m portage into Serpentine. The rest of us really wanted to go the long way through the marsh, into Anderson Lake the across the 610m portage into Serpentine.
As we were preparing to leave it started to rain. We found our rain coats and setup a tarp so that we could finish packing up. We waited a few minutes for the rain to stop. It slowed to a very light drizzle so we headed out and as it turns out it didn't take long for it to stop raining. We made our way to the marsh leading into Anderson Lake. It didn't look like this root was very well traveled. It was a real challenge trying to determine which way to go and there was some tough slugging in some sections as we maneuvered through the mud, grass, etc.
|This Might be the Right Way!|
|Almost at the Portage|
|End of the Line|
We were treated a beautiful sunset and went to bed shortly there after.
This was a rest day for us. We woke up and leisurely cooked pancakes over the fire. After breakfast we headed off to explore. Our son and I wanted to explore the creek near the 200 m portage. We paddled a short distance and discovered it was all dried up. It was an interesting creek because it looked like it had cut right through the rock, creating rock walls on both sides of us.
|Time to Explore on Foot|
|All Dried Up|
|I Guess This is Why There is a Portage|
After we finished exploring the creek we went to catch up to the others. They were going to paddle over to a small island not far from the one we were staying on, check it out and possibly go for a swim. It was warming up nicely so we all spent some time in the water cooling off.
|Approaching the Tiny Island|
|Knot Tying in the Hammock (Along With Some Silliness)|
|Leave it to the 6 Year Old to Turn a Hammock Into a Swing|
|Great Spot for Story Time|
|Another Great Spot for Reading|
|Another Great Sunset|
Today wasn't meant to be a long day distance wise. The plan was to paddle to the portage from Serpentine to North Rathbun, do the portage, paddle across North Rathbun, down the creek and then do the short portage into Rathbun.
|Headed for the Portage|
The only hiccup with the plan for the day might be the 1415m portage from Serpentine into North Rathbun. This would be the longest portage we've done (other than on day trips when we didn't have much stuff). It started with a very steep uphill section and finished with a long gradual downhill. I got everyone setup to go, then set them on their way and then carried the rest of our stuff along the first 150m of the trail to get to the top of the hill. I eventually caught up to our older daughter who had stopped (about 600 m from the end) to battle some of the bugs that had been following her. I didn't meet the other kids until the end of the portage. They had no troubles at all (other than the bugs, but there was a strong breeze at the end of the portage that was helping). Sarah and I went back for the rest of the stuff and finished in good time. It felt good to get on the water again. We had lunch in the canoes, letting the wind blow us where it wanted to. We took some time to explore the marshy area between campsites 211 and 212 but discovered that the water was quite shallow and muddy. We backed out quickly for fear of getting stuck. We also spent a few minutes looking for the remains of a tramway in the area, but we had no luck locating them. North Rathbun is a beautiful lake (our older daughter pointed out that I said that about most of the lakes that we visited).
The rest of the journey was easy and uneventful. It was getting very hot again and we were all looking forward to cooling off in the lake. The water was so refreshing.
After swimming we did some fishing. We had a few bites but didn't catch anything until we tried again later in the evening. Again all the fish we caught were small.
|Site 202 From the Water|
|Another Incredible Sunset|
We had a slow start to the day. We slept in and we were in no hurry to get going. While we packed up we were visited by the wardens again. This was the third time in five days our permit was checked. We figure that's more than all other trips combined. It's great to see such a strong presence in the park.
The paddle to the portage into Anstruther was easy as was the portage. Our youngest daughter wanted to visit the waterfall again so we did that then got on the water. We had lunch on the water and made our way back to the access point.
We had an incredible five days out in the wilderness. It's so nice to be able to spend so much quality time as a family exploring and challenging ourselves. The only thing left to do was to bask in our bug bites, sore muscles and long lasting memories.
Until next time Kawartha Highlands!